The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Delacorte, 2009

James Dashner’s The Maze Runner has received some attention as of late thanks to its relatively successful film adaptation. A fact I’m aware of because I am, quite possibly, the only 31-year-old male who watches the star, Dylan O’Brien, on MTV’s Teen Wolf. I find this fact only mildly embarrassing. I read Dashner’s newer science fiction novel, The Eye of Minds, not too long ago and while I wasn’t enamored with the novel I at least found it enjoyable. I have similar feelings towards Dashner’s The Maze Runner.

Looking at the Young Adult/Teen novel market I consistently get the impression that its primary audience is female. From an anecdotal perspective I get the impression that females, by and large, a willing to read a broader spectrum of novels then males. Indeed the very fact that there is an entire body of academic work on young male literacy, and at least two popular movement dedicated towards advancing literacy in boys (check out Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read for an excellent example) sheds light on why teen novels seem to trend towards a more female audience. I am perhaps a little off topic here but novels like The Maze Runner, with its almost entirely male cast, are the exception in the teen world particularly when looking at teen speculative fiction.

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Review: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner Delacorte, 2013

I had high hopes for James Dashner’s Eye of Minds. The not-quite-cyberpunk Eye of Minds is the first a new Young Adult series by Dashner who gained some acclaim for his popular Maze Runner series. The novel follows a young gamer named Michael and his friends who spend a lot of time in the VirtNet; a simulated virtual reality. Michael has spent much of his time trying to earn access to a higher level of the VirtNet called Lifeblood Deep. Michael’s life changes after his run-in with a girl in the VirtNet who commits suicide, overriding the VirtNet safeties to actually die seemingly to escape some mysterious figure named Kaine. Shaken by this encounter Michael is soon after contacted by VirtNet Security to track down Kaine; saying no isn’t much of an option. Michael ropes in his friends Bryson and Sarah into the quest and the three set forth to track down the larger-than-life Kaine.

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